It was the last millennium – well, 1999 – that Montell Jordan sampled the heart-flutter marimba and foxy guitar licks of Claudja Barry’s 1976 disco track Love for the Sake of Love, turning it into a sex jam. Now R&B superstar-in-waiting Mahalia repeats the feat, repurposing Jordan’s Get It on Tonite into a more nuanced but no less intoxicating love lesson. Think of it as slaying it forward.
Finely wrought folk-pop analysing overwhelming emotions from a US artist called Taylor? There may be a Swiftian vibe to this lo-fi loveliness from promising youngster Janzen but it manages to carve out its own little self-reflective fiefdom, sifting through a mess of conflicting impulses in search of a little serenity. Woozy but wounding.
After an impressive boom and bust-up in the 2010s, it’s proper comeback time for the Scandi DJ trio who helped embed EDM in the mainstream. If this stomping minor-key melange starts off all “murderbot parade drill in sunless dystopia” there’s also a Soul Limbo cowbell interlude that suggests SHM have not entirely lost their knack for goofy delirium.
Shivery timbres: surely if anyone deserves to surf the wave of 2021’s slightly ridiculous shanty obsession it is the beloved Collins, keeper of the English traditional music flame. The lead-off track from the octogenarian’s new Crowlink EP has a soothing nautical vibe, lapping at you with floaty waves of field recordings exquisitely threaded together by her celestial vocal.
Kind of a shame Kenny Rogers will never hear this sculpted banger from the mighty Shak, since it feels in dialogue with his cover of Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town. Forget the stricken husband begging his wife to stay in; Don’t Wait Up proclaims a solo night on the tiles will be the best thing for all concerned. (Kenny would also have dug the wicked organ bit.)